The 29th First Annual Ig® Nobel Prize Ceremony
Thursday, September 12, 2019, *6:00 pm
(*Pre-Ceremony events – and webcast – began at 5:35 pm US Eastern Time)
at Sanders Theatre, Harvard University
Thanks to everyone who watched, attended, threw paper planes, or whatever.
This video shows the entire 2019 ceremony. (If you want to also see the little pre-ceremony Youth Exhibition, scroll down the page a bit, and watch that slightly longer video instead.)
- THE CEREMONY (Thursday, September 12, 2019)
- IG INFORMAL LECTURES (Saturday, September 14, 2019)
- Previous years / Info for the press
The 29th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony introduced the new Ig Nobel Prize winners – Each did something that makes people laugh then think.
Winners traveled to the ceremony, at their own expense, from around the world. Each received their prize from a group of genuine, genuinely bemused Nobel Laureates, in Harvard’s historic and largest theater.
(For pre-and post-ceremony news updates, see the Improbable Research blog.)
The 2019 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony has passed. Tickets for the 2020 ceremony will go on sale in July 2020
at the Harvard Box Office
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Webcast & Social Media-ing
WEBCAST: This video shows the entire LIVE WEBCAST that included: (1) a pre-ceremony Youth Exhibition called “15 habits in 15 minutes: (2) the thrilling two-minute droning recitation of safety regulations in Sanders Theatre; and then (3) the entire Ig Nobel Prize ceremony itself.
Downloadable Poster, Bookmark, & Program
Download your very own PDF copies of the 2019 Ceremony’s spiffy poster, and bookmark, and IgBill, identical to the ones we print for the ceremony.
Contact us to discuss becoming a financial supporter of the Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony.
|FIGS (Friends of the Ig) — Generous supporters of the 2019 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, who are helping the world laugh then think!|
|The Ig Glorious
This 29th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony included many improbable things:
- Ten new Ig Nobel Prize winners were announced and introduced
- The winners physically received their prizes, and a handshake, from genuine, genuinely bemused Nobel laureates:
- Eric Maskin (economics, 2007)
- Rich Roberts (physiology or medicine, 1993)
- Jerry Friedman (physics, 1990)
- THE THEME of the 2019 ceremony (though not necessarily of the achievements that win prizes) was: HABITS. If you came to the ceremony, we hope you felt free to display your own habits, and discuss them, considerately, with the people you met.
- PRE-PRE-CEREMONY TRANSEPT CONCERT in the transept (lobby) by The Boston Squeezebox Ensemble (BSE), directed by Dr. Thomas Michel: “Themes from the new opera ‘Creatures of Habit'”
- PRE-CEREMONY SHOWING-OFF-OF-HABITS by audience members, in the lobby, and in the theater.
- PRE-CEREMONY YOUTH EXHIBITION: “15 Habits in 15 Minutes”, by Christopher Hopkin, took place on stage, immediately prior to the start of the ceremony.
- THE 24/7 LECTURES, in which several of the world’s top thinkers each explained her or his subject twice:
FIRST: a complete technical description in TWENTY-FOUR (24) SECONDS**
AND THEN: a clear summary that anyone can understand, in SEVEN (7) WORDS.The 24/7 Lecturers:
- Rich Roberts. Topic: Serendipity
- Joanna Morris. Topic: Theory of Mind
- Eric Maskin. Topic: Voting
- Julie Skinner Vargas: Topic: Habit
- Cari Cesarotti: Topic: LHC (The Large Hadron Collider)
- Rebecca Nesson. Topic: Mathematical Truth
- PREMIERE OF THE MINI-OPERA “Creatures of Habit“. THE PLOT: A visit to the Museum of Bad Habits, which explores an old question. Why do people who persistently do bad things keep on doing those bad things? Because they MUST—or because they CAN?
- Story and words by Marc Abrahams.
- Music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Franz Schubert, Ludwig van Beethoven, et al.
- Directed by Maria Ferrante
- Singers: Maria Ferrante and The Behavioral Quirk Chorus—Jan Hadlund, Ivan Gusev, John Jarcho, Jean Cummings, Marsha Warren, Abby Schiff, Fred Tsai,Lisa Ferretti, Ted Sharpe, Kristen Connolly, Karen Pryor, Lizhou Sha, Sonya Taaffe, Patty Bianchet, Barbara Allen Hill, Bethany Brookshire, George Bibler, Steve Golson, et al., assisted non-vocally in act 4 by the Nobel laureates
- The Habitual Enthusiasm Orchestra—Yulia Yun (piano), Dr. Thomas Michel (accordion), Dr. Bruce Koplan (bass), Dr. Julie Reimann (cello), Lizhou Sha (violin)
- Special clicker training operatic appearance by Karen Pryor
- CEREMONIAL BOWS from returning past Ig Nobel Prize winners:
- Javier Morales (chemistry, 2009: making diamonds from tequila)
- Deborah Anderson (chemistry, 2008: Coca-Cola as a spermicide)
- Kazutaka Kurihawa and Koji Tsukada (acoustics, 2012: a machine that disrupts talking)
- David Hu and Patricia Yang (physics, 2015: urination duration in mammals)
- SALUTES to the Audience Delegations
- Karen Hopkin, creator of the Studmuffins of Science Calendar
- The Minordomos (Chris Deter, Roksi Freeman, Emma Liddell, Peaco Todd, Pooja Usgaonkar, Julia Lunetta, Sylvia Rosenberg), who visibly made things run smoothly on stage
- The Human Curtain Rods (Maria Eliseeva, Anne Madden), who held aloft the sacred curtain through which the winners enter
- The PAPER AIRPLANE DELUGES (2 of them)
- The Human Spotlights (Jim Bredt, Katrina Rosenberg), who illuminated the proceedings
- Eight-year-old “Miss Sweetie-Poo“, who encouraged speakers to keep their speeches brief
- Jean Berko Gleason: The Traditional “Welcome, Welcome” Speech
- Jean Berko Gleason: The Traditional “Goodbye, Goodbye” Speech
- AND other wondrous things
The ceremony still celebrates the publication of two books: This Is Improbable Too, and The Ig Nobel Cookbook (volume 1)
** Time limits were enforced by the the NSFW (Not Safe for Work) Indicator, and by Miss Conduct.
If You Are Coming to Sanders Theatre…
WHERE: If you are walking, driving, T-ing, biking, or running to Sanders Theatre, you may want some directions. Here are: (1) map and directions; and (2) the secret of how to pahk your cah near Hahvud Yahd.
WHAT TO WEAR: We suggest you wear clothing. Clothing that, like you, is colorful. People like yourself (or in some cases, very unlike yourself) in distant places, watching the broadcast and seeing occasional glimpses of the Sanders Theatre audience, will thrill to the panoply of colors, styles, and improbable accoutrements. This is the night to unearth your old wedding gown, uniform, suit of armor, labcoat or longjohns.
WHAT TO BRING: Paper, paper, paper. Paper to make into paper airplanes. Additional paper to give to those around you who may have forgotten to bring their own paper, and who as a consequence of their own neglect are forlornly wishing they could join in the thrill and intellectual romance of making and throwing paper airplanes. SAFETY FIRST, please! Paper airplanes should only be thrown at the safety-equipment-laden individual onstage who is the Designated Paper Airplane Target. Paper airplanes may only be made of paper.
NOTE: There will be two (2) designated Paper Airplane Deluge periods, one at the very start of the ceremony, the other at the ceremony’s midpoint.
The Ig Informal Lectures
Saturday, Sep 14, 2019, 1:00 pm
MIT—building 10, room 250
A half-afternoon of improbably funny, informative, informal, brief public lectures and demonstrations:
- The new Ig Nobel Prize winners attempted to explain what they did, and why they did it.
- Some past winners returned, to shared their adventures. This year there was a demonstration by Kazutaka Kurihawa and Koji Tsukada (acoustics prize, 2012) of the Speech Jammer, the machine that disrupts talking
- Winners were available for audience members to chat with, both before and after the lectures.
The Ig informal Lectures are a free event, organized in cooperation with the MIT Press Bookstore.
Lectures Webcast—The lectures was webcast live, here on this page (on Saturday Sept 14th). Now you can watch recorded video of that entire event:
Special Thanks To…
All Ig Nobel Prize activities are organized by the Annals of Improbable Research (AIR). The ceremony is co-sponsored by the Harvard-Radcliffe Science Fiction Association (HRSFA), and the Harvard-Radcliffe Society of Physics Students (SPS).